A Word from Our Students

Student Testimonials

“Drisha serves as a center for intellectually engaged young Jews to learn together in a welcoming, progressive, and stimulating environment. When I’m at Drisha I feel connected to a rich tradition.”
Daniel Atwood
Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“My years learning at Drisha provided me with skills and knowledge to learn Torah, and with inspiration and passion to teach Torah!”

Channa Lockshin Bob
Full-Time Program
“The textual study at Drisha elevates the words on the page into meaningful actions to enhance the Jewish community and the world at large.”
Elie Buechler
“Drisha is open, warm, honest and stimulating. It’s a place that cultivates original thought and a community committed to improvement. I feel fortunate to have been able to spend time in this oasis and look forward to many more years of learning and growing with the Drisha community.”
Mookie Deitsch
Full-Time Program, Kollel, & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“Learning at Drisha was a revelation. The idea that I could come together with Jews of divergent genders, backgrounds, and viewpoints in order to study the same Torah was eye-opening to me as a college student; that idea, and Drisha’s wonderful group of teachers, has fostered a growing love of learning and made me a proud alum.”
Joshua Joseph Freundel
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“One of my favorite things about Drisha’s program is that the teachers encourage independent, individualized thinking. We weren’t told what a text means, but rather how to analyze it properly and develop our own conclusions.”

Ruth Balinsky Friedman
Full-Time Program & Kollel
“I had the opportunity to take classes with amazing educators and scholars on topics which I never would have encountered in high school had it not been for Drisha. And I learned not only inside the classroom, but also outside, whether on the street or on shabbatonim. Additionally, the exceptional group of peers that I shared this experience with could not have come together without Drisha. These intelligent girls taught me and gave me so many things which I cannot forget.”

Dina Cohn
High School Program
“From the moment I arrived in the Kollel, the atmosphere of learning, conversation and friendship really embraced me. Drisha fosters an environment where those of a huge range of ability and backgrounds can learn together respectfully, encouraging everyone to add their voice to the Torah unfolding before us. The teaching and scholarship here is excellent, and I leave shiurim feeling challenged. I also hugely enjoy the music which pervades the air, from the kumtzitz on Thursday evenings, to the hachanat ltefila class on niggunim. And it’s not only the music which pervades the air, but also deep and interesting conversations, complementing the classes. In short, it is a fantastic way to spend your summer!”
Hannah Cowen
“Drisha taught me that I love learning Torah. I was lucky to grow up immersed in Torah learning, but it was in the Drisha beit midrash that I realized that Torah was not only an inheritance, but a passion I could and should go out and pursue for myself. Drisha was a place of excitement, passion and questioning, which inspired and continues to inspire my learning. And so thanks to Drisha I continue to look for, find and teach Torah in contexts both traditional and surprising.”

Ranana Dine
High School Program, Kollel, Winter Week
“Studying at Drisha inspired my thinking and allowed me to grow in my Torah knowledge. The warmth of the community coupled with the intense learning allowed for me to grapple with text in a new way and in good company. My teachers opened up new pathways of understanding and allowed me to develop new insights that I have returned to over and over again. Thinking about my time spent in the Beit Midrash reminds me of the blessings that I received and I hope that I will have many opportunities to return.”

Esther Azar
“At Drisha, I fell in love with Gemara and I hope to continue learning it for the rest of my life. Drisha let me ask “the big questions” and gave me some type of response while also showing me how much there is still to learn. I liked how we just got to inhale the Torah and taste it. I met such educated people who I highly respected. The friends I have made on this program I hope to keep forever. The girls here are so incredibly nice, smart and unique. People from all over the globe, from all over the spectrum. This experience has been a dream and just flew by. I hope to keep everyone from Drisha in my heart.”
Stacy Bayer
High School Program
“What a discovery! I have participated in the Kollel three times and have taken classes there throughout the year. Drisha has become my home away from home. Being part of the Drisha family is a true honor. Drisha is a place of Torah and truth whose doors are open to all, and the staff are dedicated and committed to am yisrael and torat yisrael.”

Victoria Chabot
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“It was wonderful to explore a single theme through the lens of different texts- Tanakh, Gemara, classical and modern thinkers- as well as having various teachers adding their own personal viewpoint of that thesis. This multi-layered method of studying a single motif was stimulating and thought provoking and also great fun.”

Zella Goldfinger
Continuing Education, June Seminar
“As we learned about competing commitments at Drisha, I realized that perhaps for the first time, two of my important values did not need to compete in this learning space: the faculty and my fellow students were all similarly striving to integrate progressive values and open-mindedness, with deeply committed Jewish practice and intellectually stimulating textual study. It was inspiring to be an environment so genuinely inclusive and welcoming, and yet intensive.”
Mira Goldstein
Yeshivat Bein Hazmanim
“Drisha’s beit midrash is truly a one of a kind place. Every time I walked inside, I could feel the energy being generated all around me by the combined passion of the incredible faculty and inspiring students. Drisha provided me not only with a wonderful place to learn, but with a place where I could grow as a human being in general and as a Jew in particular. I can’t wait to be back!”

Steve Gotlib
Kollel & Yeshivat Bein Hazmanim
“At Drisha, I learned what it means to bring your whole self to Torah study. I learned to challenge myself and others to formulate an idea honestly and with clarity and to share my joy and enthusiasm with the community of Torah students that surrounded me. I carry an indebtedness to Drisha for having provided mentors, chavrutot, and opportunities for me to study and learn with the greatest of support and encouragement. I feel a responsibility to make sure that access to a meaningful encounter with Jewish tradition be open to others. As part of a generation blessed to build the state of Israel, I believe that our Jewish Israeli identity should be formed in dialogue with our sacred texts and traditions. We need to debunk the idea that any one group represents the inheritors of the Torah.”
Ilana Fodiman-Silverman
Full-Time Program
“Drisha’s beit midrash is a place that I can return to time and again to study and learn. My time spent learning at Drisha increased my love of advanced Torah learning and allowed me to forge connections with incredible people. These connections still remain strong today.”
Ilana Gadish
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“I keep coming back to Drisha because of the comfort and familiarity I feel when I walk through its doors. It was the place I turned to when I was just starting to learn Gemara, and it’s the place I continue to grow in as I learn with my chavruta. The constant energy of my peers there is unrivaled and unmatched anywhere else. So, of course I keep coming back.”
Melanie Goldberg
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“I was deeply inspired by the quality of learning and the sense of community at Drisha; it inspired me to continue to develop my textual skills and seek out opportunities to study – so much so that upon moving to California and noting the absence of a pluralistic beit midrash in the area, I helped found (and now direct) the Silicon Valley Beit Midrash, a center for learning on the west coast that empowers Jewish people of all backgrounds to study classical Jewish texts and ideas in a pluralistic, warm and intellectually challenging environment.”
Shani Gross
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“I first came to the Drisha Kollel after my year in Israel wanting more of the same of my midrasha (seminary) experience. But it was radically different and transformative Torah which I found at Drisha, along with the inspiring peers and teachers, that kept me coming back summer after summer throughout college, and afterwards as a Shoelet U’Meishiva.”
Goldie Guy
“My Drisha experience impacted me in setting the groundwork for how I view the role of a beit midrash in a community. On my own campus, I think of ways to expand the walls of the beit midrash, ways to bring the beit midrash to others, and most importantly, ways to ensure that the outside community, its values and concerns, are brought into the beit midrash.”
Raymond Habbaz
“At Drisha, I learned to love Torah for it’s own sake. The sense of home I feel in a beit midrash is something that I discovered at Drisha that will always be with me.”

Avigayil Halpern
High School Program
“I chose to attend the Drisha Summer Program after I graduated from college, looking to be inspired towards a career and a reexamination of my value system through Jewish text. I found Drisha to be not only a wonderful open, serious, and studious environment where I met the greatest friends, but a catalyst to who I am today as a contributing American Jew.”
Ariel Halpern
“Drisha taught me that to learn was to teach, and that the Jewish community needed us. Rabbi Silber lit a fire underneath us and we all found our own way to carry the flame.”

Tammy Jacobowitz
Full-Time Program
“The immersive and highly scholastic Kollel was so powerful and productive because the learning transcended the confines of the Beit Midrash. The skill of the instructors in communicating in effective ways, the community that the staff labored to create among the participants, and the openness of the participants to learn from each other helped me and my fellow participant to develop an unwavering commitment to Torah learning. Such an effect created a kind of holiness in the Beit Midrash that called for itself to be shared with others. When I and my fellow participants enlighten ourselves anew with the Torah learning from the Kollel, when we live by the Torah that we learned from each other, and when we share our learning with others, I know that the holiness from the five weeks of the Kollel will reach countless others, making me ever so grateful and changed from the Kollel.”
Marc Hersch
“Though my Drisha attendance centers on occasional evening classes over the last decade, Drisha has become a very important part of my life. Rav Silber and his team have created a very warm environment totally dedicated to respectful intellectual discourse. The questions that are raised in public dialogue among all participants of so many different ages and educational backgrounds have informed me to view texts very familiar to me from my own yeshiva training in new and exciting ways. I am so grateful for the exposure to innovative scholarship and engagement with internationally recognized scholars. And for the friendships made too!”

Nisan Hershkowitz
Continuing Education
“I came to Drisha in search of an open and welcoming Beit Midrash that supports and encourages serious Torah study. While at Drisha I had the privilege of learning from remarkable Jewish educators and Jewish leaders. I had the opportunity to learn and engage in Torah with Jews from a myriad of backgrounds and walks of life. Today, many of my closest friends are the amazing individuals I met at Drisha. I was truly blessed to have found a home and family at Drisha and I feel that the Drisha Beit Midrash is my Beit Midrash.”

Scott Kalmikoff
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
למדתי בתוכניות של דרישה גם בניו יורק וגם בכפר הנוער ימין אורד. בכולן זכיתי ללמוד עם מורים מעוררי השראה ועם משתתפים בעלי השקפות עולם מגוונות, כאשר המכנה המשותף בין כולם היה רצון כנה להיחשף לדעות שונות וללמוד אחד מן השני. היופי והייחודיות של דרישה זה שהמוסד לא מנסה לקדם אג’נדה. הוא נותן את המרחב לכל אחת ואחד למצוא את עצמו בתוך ימה של התורה. לא אגזים אם אומר שבדרישה מצאתי גם חברי אמת וגם את עצמי.

Avital Kaplan
Kollel & Drisha's Beit Midrash in Israel
“At Drisha, every opinion is heard and validated. Everyone, regardless of denomination is welcome and made to feel at home. Drisha is a place where you can explore and discuss Judaism, without fear of judgement. It is impossible to come away from a Drisha program unchanged.”

Yael Kaplan
High School Program, Kollel, Yeshivat Bein Hazmanim, & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“The Drisha experience also motivated me to explore Jewish themes in my artistic work. Being in a community of artists, joined by our common religious and cultural heritage, provided strong support for my creativity. All these years later, Arts Fellows are still among my best hevrutot, critics, and friends. Not a chag or a semester goes by without my attending a lecture or taking a class at Drisha. My art process and my Jewish practice have become increasingly integrated.”
Susan Kaplow
Arts Fellowship
“My time at Drisha in the Beit Midrash and Arts Fellowship was instrumental in my development as an artist and Jewish educator. It was at Drisha that I experienced the visceral nature of Jewish text and how to make music from that experience. Participating in the Drisha Arts Fellowship inspired me to create the Muslim Jewish Arts Fellowship, which employs a similar format of text study and interdisciplinary creative practice in an interfaith setting. I am so thankful for the year I got to spend at Drisha which still informs my identity on a daily basis. I also met some of my best friends there.”
Eliana Kissner
Arts Fellowship
“I am so grateful to call the Drisha beit midrash my home, to have had the opportunity to be a part of the serious and passionate and always multi-dimensional learning which goes on there. Seamlessly weaving together a core of traditional modes of Torah study, engaged in seriously and in depth, with philosophy and other disciplines, along with a real-world sensitivity for practical implications as well, this approach is one I hope to share with others, and which I know I will keep with me moving forward in my life and learning, along with the life-long friends and chevrutas I have encountered there.”
Yael Klausner
Full-Time Program, Kollel, & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“Drisha’s welcoming educators and engaged student body make it possible for newcomers, academics and all of us in between to study Torah with a charged concern for where our heritage has been, where it’s going and what we can do to keep moving forward. I am thrilled to be a beneficiary of Drisha’s classes. The worldly and masterful thinkers at the helm and the inclusive and passionate students around me brought a fiery concern for the state of our shared heritage to the table. Thanks to this program, I know I have a practical option for continuing my studies and personal growth at Drisha while I live nearby, and a network to draw from wherever I go.”
Tali Kuhel
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“I came to Drisha for a week of high-level Jewish learning. I got that and more: inspirational teachers, an amazing community, and a warm Shabbat experience, all woven together into a jam-packed winter program.”

Ben Kepecs
Yeshivat Bein Hazmanim
“In Drisha, I felt surrounded by intelligent caring people who both were heavily invested in both Torah and people. You know a place is special when they know all your names as they talk about multi-verse theory in midrash.”

Moshe Klein
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“Drisha was a great way to invigorate my summer and return to a beit midrash – I highly recommend it for any undergraduates looking for a serious and inspiring summer of learning. The educators in particular were fantastic: Insightful, open, thoughtful, and always available – many of whom I’m still in touch with today!”
Adriel Koschitzky
“The first time I opened a gemara of my own was in the Drisha Beit Midrash. I remember it felt like a subversive act, as if I was daring to intrude in a wholly masculine space where I didn’t belong. During the year I spent studying full-time at Drisha, I learned many things, gaining knowledge and developing skills. But the most critical and enduring thing I gained was the sense that there is space for me too in the Beit Midrash, that I belong. Because of Drisha, my child knows implicitly that Torah and Talmud is for everyone. A few months after I left Drisha, my then-3-year-old son and I saw some men learning in shul. “Look,” I pointed out to him, “the men are learning Gemara.” And he responded, “Just like mommy!”
Miriam Levy-Haim
Full-Time Program
“Drisha provided me with the beit midrash that I felt was sorely lacking in my life ever since returning from a year studying in Israel. Delving into the text of Masechet Sotah, we were charged with examining the surface meaning as well as all of the implications, thinking about issues that are prevalent even today. The various backgrounds that everyone came from created an atmosphere unlike any other, open to any and all opinions and questions. The five weeks we had together at Drisha flew by too fast!

Sara Linder
“I am tremendously grateful to my teachers and fellow Drisha students. They invited me into torah study of great depth, integrity, and rigor. During the monthlong study kollel, I improved my technical text skills; explored new spiritual disciplines; and worked toward justice for those facing homelessness in New York City. Equally important, I made wonderful new friends! I will value those relationships and the learning I enjoyed at Drisha as I prepare to enter the rabbinate and beyond!”

Danny Moss
“The vibrant chatter of a full, enthusiastic Beit Midrash is one of my favorite sounds in the world. At Drisha, this ongoing dialogue builds lasting friendships and an even deeper love of learning.”

Talia Lakritz
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“From the second I sat down in my first class at Drisha I felt that I was finally in the right place. Drisha is the kind of place where everyone feels welcome. As important, if not more important, than feeling welcome I’ve learned so much at Drisha. Drisha helped me rediscover my love of studying Judaism and in a style that is committed to tradition and progress in a way that I didn’t even know was possible.”
Jacob Miller-Sobel
Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“The Kollel was the perfect way to strengthen my learning. Drisha was a very supportive environment…I always felt like I could ask any of the faculty or interns questions when I was stuck on a difficult section. Drisha is an amazing community to learn with, and I highly recommend it to everyone!”

Sarah Morrissey
“At Drisha, I encountered a refreshing approach to my life-long study of Torah that not only broadened my Torah knowledge and skills, but also deepened and reinforced my connection to Judaism. It’s rare to find an environment both so intellectually stimulating and emotionally stirring like at Drisha.
Josh Nagel
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
I spent a year learning at Drisha and here is what I got: 1) Friends for life. 2) The opportunity to learn from brilliant educators who inspired me every day. 3) The experience of being completely immersed in Jewish learning and loving it…I wish I could do it all over again.
Leeza Negelev
Arts Fellowship
“The Drisha Kollel gave me the opportunity to learn with the most thoughtful,caring, seeking group of people I’ve ever met. I am grateful for the experiences I had throughout the month and also for the tools I’ve received to continue learning throughout my life.”
Leora Nevins
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“In many ways, the three summers I spent at Drisha are directly intertwined with my love of Jewish learning and desire to be a religious leader. Through learning with such an incredible array of teachers and peers at Drisha, I was able to engage in a lot of the spiritual work that ultimately resulted in my own cultivation of a more mature Jewish identity.”
Raphi Ozarowski
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“I have participated in Drisha’s summer kollel, Drishat Shalom fellowship, and weekday classes, and I always come away energized by the depth of the texts we explore and the perspectives of the wonderfully thoughtful individuals that make Drisha an indispensable part of my life as a Jew.”

Daniella Penn
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“Participating in the Drisha Kollel afforded me the opportunity to study together with a diverse group of intellectually ambitious people and learn from an excellent group of teachers. The respect that Drisha’s faculty showed all of it students, treating them as integral partners in developing the kollel’s atmosphere and direction had a profound impact on me.”
Yosef Press
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“The two years I spent full time at Drisha were without contest among the more exciting, interesting, joyful, growth-provoking and transformative years of my life. Coming in with nothing much more than the alef-beth and the desire to learn, I found myself incredibly supported and inspired in this journey, not only by the texts I discovered, but also by the teachers, the staff, the community of students, the unique experience of working in chavruta, and so much more that was there everyday. I feel forever grateful and indebted to Drisha for being such a turning point in my Jewish growth, and I only hope I can give back a little bit every day in the work I do, everyday.”

Mira Niculescu
Arts Fellowship
“In Drisha, I felt surrounded by intelligent caring people who both were heavily invested in both Torah and people. You know a place is special when they know all your names as they talk about“I was first exposed to the unique world of Drisha when was fifteen, and my eyes were opened to the truest meaning of limud lishma. After completing two years of service in the IDF, I returned to Drisha in order to continue my personal journey of building up my Jewish identity. My summer as a student in the June kollel and a madricha in the high school program, contained within it very meaningful dialogues, through learning with and from such amazing educators and students. Only now am I starting to understand the effect Drisha had, and still has, on who I am and the person I hope to become.” multi-verse theory in midrash.”
Ma’ayan Porat
High School Program & Kollel
“I was in the Drisha Arts Fellowship for two years, honing my ability to bring music to the text, and text to music. The learning opened me up to so many new portals of creativity and depth of understanding. The environment was warm, deep, and incredibly supportive – I have never laughed as much as I did learning Talmud in Chevruta – and the friends that I made in the program, are friends that I still connect with till today.” “I was in the Drisha Arts Fellowship for two years, honing my ability to bring music to the text, and text to music. The learning opened me up to so many new portals of creativity and depth of understanding. The environment was warm, deep, and incredibly supportive – I have never laughed as much as I did learning Talmud in Chevruta – and the friends that I made in the program, are friends that I still connect with till today.”
Basya Schechter
Arts Fellowship
“Drisha’s Yeshivat Bein Hazmanim program was a great way to start off my winter-break. Drisha provided me with the Torah learning opportunity I needed after a hectic college semester that left me little time for high-level Torah learning. The material we delved into was engaging and the people I learned with shared a commitment to learning Torah. It exceeded my expectations and really hit the spot.”

Marisa Pollack
Yeshivat Bein Hazmanim
“Drisha’s Kollel provided a wonderful opportunity to throw myself back into talmud torah–in an engaged, open and diverse setting–after my freshman year of college. The faculty was outstanding: David Flatto’s Sanhedrin shiur allowed us to access the text from historical-critical, traditional and philosophical perspectives; David Silber’s classes in Sefer Shmuel were full of insights into stories I love and thought I knew well; and Tammy Jacobowitz provided me with a set of tools to analyze and appreciate midrash. Even better: my peers were as fun as the faculty was talented.”
Yishai Schwartz
Kollel & Winter Week
“At Drisha, the Torah and educators were creative, stimulating, and spiritually-minded. More importantly, people’s genuine happiness to be there, the sun shining bright through the windows, and the collective buzz of learning and laughter created a unique and homey Beit Midrash atmosphere.”

Ezra Seligsohn
“I loved learning at Drisha, because I gained access to incredible minds and inspiring mentors as well as made connections with peers across the Jewish spectrum. To this day, I try to incorporate exercises like sharing 2 cents about our passions and carrying granola bars in my backpack to hand out to an individual in need. Thank you to Drisha for empowering me to be a more conscientious and intentional practicing Jew!”
Shoshi Singer
“Drisha gave me the unique opportunity to delve deeply into Jewish texts and enhanced my skills tremendously. Given my limited background in Torah study, I have never been in a place where I was treated as an intellectual equal in the beit midrash the way that the teachers at Drisha did. This mentality inspired me and pushed me so much harder than I have been pushed before.”
Lydia Sonenklar
“I really enjoyed engaging in meaningful and challenging learning at Drisha. I appreciate that I was able to discuss concepts related to Jewish thought and practice with … passionate peers. The faculty and students in the program cultivated an open environment for self-introspection and gaining new understandings.”

Ateret Sultan-Reisler
Yeshivat Bein Hazmanim
“Drisha gave me the opportunity I could not find anywhere else to reach my fullest potential and to push myself beyond my limits to learn. The environment Drisha creates in the Beit Midrash is one of openness, honesty, sensitivity and devotion. Drisha teaches that modern day perspectives do not contradict with issues arising in the Gemara or Halacha, but work in tandem with and strengthen our tradition. No opinion is unwelcome, no perspective is judged; everyone is there to learn and to gain a better understanding of what is means to be a learned Jew in the modern world. I am grateful to Drisha for providing an environment to learn in that is based off of these values.”
Adina Tanen
“Learning at Drisha with Yeshivat Bein Hazmanim was a great experience. The teachers were committed to animating the learning in ways that all students could benefit from and the students were all engaged in learning and discussion throughout the day. There was a sense of camaraderie and community that developed over the week and Shabbat that made me appreciate the power Jewish learning has to create meaningful connections and community.”

Ephraim Tropp
Yeshivat Bein Hazmanim & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
“The summer I spent at Drisha helped me build the skills I needed to develop as an independent learner. It was breath-taking to learn in a beit midrash where people of all skill-levels, denominations and genders learn as members of a greater whole. Anytime I go to a shiur or class at Drisha I know that I’ll be confronted with something that affirms, challenges, or nuances my point of view. I am a more informed Jew, and a better person because of it it.”

Zissy Turner
“In Drisha I felt like I was not merely growing in just my knowledge, or my character, but rather holistically as a person, Drisha helped me feel more in touch with myself and with everything I love about Judaism.”
Noam Weinreich
“Drisha was an incredible gift. It instilled me with skills, knowledge, confidence and community.”

Sharon Weiss-Greenberg
Full-Time Program
“Drisha is my home base as a teacher and student of Jewish texts. Many of my most meaningful learning experiences, teaching moments, personal interactions, and hevruta relationships have emerged from the time I spend at Drisha.”
Sara Wolkenfeld
Full-Time Program
“I came to Drisha in the summer of 2013 hoping to expand my Torah knowledge. Not only did I have the opportunity to learn from stellar educators on unique topics, but I gained a new family. Questions which I was shy to ask beforehand were now encouraged. I found myself in an open environment surrounded by peers of different backgrounds passionate about Torah study and committed to their religious practice. Drisha has shown me the importance of each individual within the community, taught me to think critically and helped strengthen my Jewish identity.”
Denise Zami
Kollel & Drishat Shalom Fellowship
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